Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
- it saves money
- it is healthier (you have control over how the produce is grown and processed),
- it supports the local economy if you are buying produce from local farmers,
- it does not need to be transported across miles to get from the farm to your table, thus reducing consumption of fuel,
- it is better on the environment by reducing waste because jars are recycled from year-to-year, and
- it gives a sense of accomplishment of a final product (after all the hard work put into growing the produce if you have a garden) that benefits your family...the jars always look so pretty lined up on the shelf!
In fact there was a whole family poisoned by botulism toxin recently from produce that was not canned properly...this was not in Ashland County, by the way, but word spreads and CDC must be notified to fly in the antitoxin, so it is a big deal from the public health point of view (you don't know how many people could be involved initially and it is important to investigate the source and be sure no one else is at risk - this is also why it is against food establishment codes to sell home-canned vegetables at restaurants).
- If consuming home canned foods, heat low acid foods to 176°F or boiling for 10 minutes and corn, spinach and meats for 20 minutes before consumption to reduce the risk of illness
- Oils infused with garlic or herbs should be properly refrigerated (45°F) to prevent the growth of C. botulinum spores.
- Canned food products, both home and commercial, should be inspected before use. Cans with bulging or damaged lids, leakage, or off odors should not be used because growth of the bacteria can often produce a gas, causing the can to expand. Throw out any damaged or expired cans.
- Home canned foods should be canned in pressure cookers to ensure the proper time, temperature and pressure requirements to avoid the growth of the bacteria and spores.
- If canning meats, use nitrites or salt in the brine in addition to heat to reduce the growth of C. botulinum.
- Vacuum packaged meats should be refrigerated or properly stored in the freezer for extended use.
- Keep hot foods above 140°F and cold foods below 40°F to prevent the formation of spores (be wary of cooking baked potatoes in aluminum foil and then not consuming them immediately).
Note: Home canning has been done by many people over many years. It is safe when done correctly (I am not trying to discourage anyone from learning or doing home canning - see those benefits I listed above), but it is also important to understand how and why it must be done correctly, especially for anyone who may be trying to learn how to do home canning on their own. (If I was not in public health, I probably would not have realized how serious of a risk botulism is because we don't ever hear about it.)There is more information on Botulism including a USDA Home Canning Guide here and here
Friday, September 26, 2008
- Sept 23 A discussion on the economy from a Christian viewpoint including a discussion of the federal government bailout deal
- Sept 24 "The Man Whisperer": Speaking your husband's language to bring out his best
Friday, September 19, 2008
- Consider purchasing a half or quarter of beef or pork if you have the space to freeze it.
- Whole boneless pork loin. These are occasionally on sale at the local grocery stores for $1.77-1.98 per lb. It seems like a lot of $ when you buy 7-9 lbs at once but you can get a lot of meals out of one pork loin. Cut it up yourself or ask the meat department to cut it up for you at no extra cost then stock up your freezer.
- Flat iron steak. This is my latest discovery. I had never heard of flat iron steak until just a few months ago. Buehler's (local grocer) seems to have these on sale occasionally for $3.49 per lb. You can marinate a pound of this and stretch it into 4 servings or more by making stir fry (my favorite is Beef and Broccoli) or grill it (steak kabobs). Not a bad price when you are in the mood for steak.
- Ground turkey. Aldi has 1 lb frozen "tubes" of ground turkey for $.99. Even if you are not a fan of ground turkey, I have found that when you blend it in with ground beef in a meatloaf or other dish, such as the stuffed peppers, you don't even notice. I often take 1 lb of the ground turkey (85% lean) and mix it with 1 lb of ground beef (96% lean). It ends up 90% lean and less expensive than buying 90% lean ground beef at regular price. (figuring the 96% lean ground beef at Walmart is regular priced at $4.28 that makes your 90% lean meat mix $2.64 per lb. - even less if you can get it on sale) You can play around with these numbers until you get the balance of lean-ness and cost to your liking. I tried the 99% lean ground turkey at Walmart once and noticed that it does not blend in as well.
- Whole chicken or turkey. Watch for the turkeys to go on sale around the holidays and freeze them for later. Cook the carcass for broth.
- Boneless chicken thighs. I like to use these in homemade chicken noodle soup. They are conveniently boneless yet you still end up with an inexpensive meal.
- Make soup or stew. This is another way to stretch the amount of meat needed for a meal.
- Go vegetarian at least once a week. There are lots of recipes for very delicious gourmet type (or plain) meatless meals on the internet using beans and other less expensive forms of protein. And, this is healthier also.
- Use canned fish, like tuna (in water not oil) or salmon, occasionally.
- Watch the weights on the package of meat when you are picking it out of the meat case. Actively look for the right size package that fits your needs. If you plan to make a meal using 1 lb. of meat, go with the one marked 1.01 or even 0.97 lbs. not the one that is marked 1.26 lbs. unless you plan to make use of the extra.
- Serve breakfast at dinner time once in awhile. Try something like...
- Scrambled Eggs, Toast or Bran muffins, Fruit, Yogurt,
- Oatmeal or whole-wheat pancakes (Did you ever try sweet potato pancakes?), Applesauce, Lean Ham
- Omelet loaded with veggies/cheese, Fruit or Juice, Lean bacon
- Whole-grain waffles with Fruit Topping (more like a "dessert" if you are not looking for a big dinner)
These are all pretty easy and inexpensive to make for dinner (even when you are making them from scratch) and can be quite healthy when you are creative and can provide a balanced meal with protein, fruit and vegetable.
Finally, remember that 1 serving of meat is 4 ounces (1/4 lb)...approximately the size of a deck of cards. Try to prepare dinners with this in mind. For example, cut chicken breasts in 1/2 when they are bigger than 1 serving. If you are cooking for big eaters, keep the meat in single size portions but add another side dish, such as a fruit or vegetable (this helps "balance" the meal as well, adding more nutrients and less fat).
Do you have other "tricks" to stretching and saving on meat?
Monday, September 15, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
"Pintos" by Bev Doolittle
Sunday, September 7, 2008
- Josiah really liked the super duper sundaes (Julie, I see why you wanted small bowls for the kids...I see what a little sugar can do!). Josiah also enjoyed playing along in the grown up games but he is still full of lots of energy and so much fun...
- Katelyn was so excited because our playground "has threeee sliiides!" and it was entertaining to watch her chase after Josiah and Uncle Mike on the playground saying, as fast as the words would come out, "Unckle Ike, Unckle Ike, Unckle Ike, Unckle Ike, Unckle Ike..."
- Caleb is such a cutey and he hardly cried after he got over the initial intimidation of being in a strange place. We have some really cute clips of him on the video, including him showing us "strong" and "cheeeese" (standing on the picnic table bench), imitating Uncle Mike doing the floating dollar bill trick and breaking into dance moves at the sound of music...
Friday, September 5, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
- Longer hairstyles allow you to go for quite awhile without a haircut. Even with shorter styles, stretch the length in between cuts. Stretching your haircuts from every 6 weeks to every 8 weeks saves you two visits every year.
- Check out the local beauty school. Even if you only go there every other cut, or just for services like manicures, it could save you a good deal of money in the long run. It's worth a try.
- If you use salon products, buy them somewhere else. Super Walmart, CVS and other drug stores carry many of the salon products at lower prices. Or, look on eBay...I bought 4 jars of Bed Head Mastermind hair product for the same price I would have paid for 1 in the salon!
- Ask for gift certficates to your favorite salon as a Christmas gift.
- Invest in hair clippers and cut your husband's hair yourself. I was a little bit scared at first, but it's really not that hard.
- Learn to do your own manicures or pedicures.
- Learn to cut your own bangs and your children's hair.
- Donate your hair to Locks of Love.
Going to the salon is more important to some women than others (and that is not necessarily wrong), so my challenge to you is this...
- Add up how much you spent last year on haircuts and all the other salon services, including hair care products for the whole family...multiply that times 20...Is 20 years of going to the salon worth that amount of money?? My point is that (just like cable TV and other things) a small amount each month adds up over a number of years. Conversely, pinching pennies to save a couple hundred dollars in a few different areas in the budget also adds up over the years as well!
- And secondly, examine your heart...is this area one that you have given control over to God? The Bible tells us that we should be more concerned about inner beauty than outer beauty...
I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
I Timothy 2:6
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.
I Peter 3:3-5
I am not saying that going to the beauty salon or even having a day of pampering is sinful...we should be good stewards and take care of our bodies which also includes eating healthy & exercising...but, even each of these can become sinful (ie: an idol) if our hearts are not right...just as being rich is not in itself sinful, the love of money is sinful...
So, besides being costly monetarily, we may have fallen into believing the lie (which permeates our culture) that physical beauty matters more than inner beauty...
The fact is, if we devote our time and energy to staying fit, trim, glamorous and youthful looking, we may achieve those objectives--for awhile. But the day will come when we will regret having neglected to cultivate that inner beauty, character, and radiance that are pleasing to God and last forever.
(quoted from "Lies Women Believe" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, p. 82)
Now on to other Frugal Friday news...Here are some valuable printable coupons...
Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers
(Walmart $1.27 - $1 coupon here = $.27)
(this works well with the refried beans or the taco seasonings)